Foxx Launches Summit on Safety of Bicyclists and Pedestrians
AASHTO, a nonprofit association representing highway and transportation departments in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, has announced the launch of the Mayors' Challenge, a summit on the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians.
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials has announced that U.S. Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx is launching the "Mayors' Challenge for safer people and safer streets," that will target ways to improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians.
Foxx, who was mayor of Charlotte, N.C., before leading the Department of Transportation, said the effort will include a national summit meeting this spring for mayors and other local elected officials and then a push for "significant action over the next year" to reduce accidents that harm bikers and walkers.
"As a former mayor, I understand what a difference it can make when a mayor chooses to prioritize an issue that brings together many community members toward a common goal," Foxx said. This Mayors' Challenge program, he said, will help the city leaders "use what we know about how to reduce pedestrian and bicycle fatalities and injuries to make a real difference and save lives in their communities."
Foxx said even as overall highway fatalities have been declining, pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities have been on the rise in recent years and now are nearly 17 percent of total fatalities.
Governing magazine reports Foxx told the conference bicyclist deaths along U.S. roads rose by 15 percent between 2009 and 2014, while pedestrian deaths increased 16 percent. "Almost 5,000 bikers, runners and walkers are dying on the sides of roads each year, and most of them places you're from -- in cities," where three-quarters of those deaths occur, he said.
Foxx also said, Governing reports, that "for some people at the margins, this is the way they get around. Unfortunately those same people find that there are no safe places to walk or bike in many cases" He said low-income neighborhoods are twice as likely as high-income neighborhoods to lack basic infrastructure to protect cyclists and pedestrians, such as sidewalks, cross walks and stop lights.
Summit attendees will work with USDOT staff to identify new departmental resources they can use, and network with their peers to discuss what's being done in other communities.
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